Blend and Balance

Blend and Balance

For most business owners who are parents to school-age children will be juggling hot potatoes this week, as its half-term. Personally I don’t mind this one as its only a week and it’s easy to flit between the two. Its Easter I am not a fan of, its long with bank holidays and the endless need to have been doing everything.

My kids get bored, they love the week holidays as it’s a little break but the Easter one they get bored, the summer holidays are a very different kettle of fish (where did that saying come from?)

How to manage

Not everyone has the luxury of having family around or nearby, so holidays can be a real juggling act and the sense of guilt, see there is that word again, its an emotion I am working so hard on dispelling for as many parents in business as I physically can, we need to banish guilt, and find a way of making running our business and school holidays work for us.

I blend…………. Not as in Nutribullet kind of blend, but I blend my time between business, children and both. It has taken some time for me to find the right balance and formula so here are my tips on getting through the half-term minus the guilt and truckload of stress!

My Tips for getting through the holidays

Set your intentions – this is the most important step, you need to be realistic with this if you normally work Monday – Friday 9 am to 3.30 pm without the children, then you need to set your intentions knowing that you will have company, take into consideration their ages, are you going to be able to still work those hours?

My two are 7 & 11, they are at that age now where I can do blocks of time uninterrupted, but I know as soon as I jump on a call or do a video war breaks out, so I avoid those tasks until I have business time.

So be realistic, you know that you will not get that normal time, so don’t fight it.

Grab a cuppa and your diary – spend 10 mins looking at your diary, seeing what you have going on, if you know that you have a call on Wednesday then make sure you make that day a business day and work your other days around that, so pick that one thing that HAS to be done and get that planned in and work the rest of your week around that one important task.

For me I know I have a call Monday afternoon, and I have a call Wednesday morning, so I have those days as business days, and the others are blended.

Blend – so when I say blend it’s using your day to please both, so an example of this could be AM family time, watch a film, play games, go for a walk, PM work time, but pick tasks that will only take small snippets of time, save the big tasks for your business days, don’t put big tasks in because if you get interrupted you’ll get frustrated and annoyed and start feeling stuck and guilty.

So, you could schedule some posts, source some images for your blog or newsletter, respond to posts or emails. But blend without GUILT.

Business days these are the days where you get shi!t did! Use these for your full-on tasks, those that you need concentration on, those that you know you can’t do when the children are home, so make sure you use that time wisely, and oddly I get so much more done when I have set time when I know that these things need doing without fail.

Enjoy – we need to remember our children are only small and at school for a really short period of time in the grand scheme of things, so be flexible, be realistic, enjoy your blended time, enjoy those days where you have blocked out to play mum or dad, and DON’T beat yourself up if things go awry!

Half-Term SOS  If you still find that the juggling is too much then you can use my specifically designed package to assist you, you can find out more HERE

I use this process for all of the holidays, it makes for a less stressful time, now I need a process to stop my two arguing…………..any suggestions? I am thinking double-sided Velcro and sticking them to the wall.

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We all have those jobs!

We all have those jobs!

I am not sure anyone prepares you enough for certain things in life, for an example, no one really prepped me for having children, everyone tells you its magical, but they all miss out those tantrums! And when they become senior school age they forget to tell you about the attitude they grow!

It is the same with business, I often feel we have painted a very different picture, a lot of people will tell you that working from home is liberating, you have the flexibility and the time is yours to do with how you please.

Now, before I get set upon, I love running my own business, I would struggle at the thought of going back to working for someone else and not having that flexibility, but it’s bloody hard! It is hard work, and the one thing that often suffers is family life.

How many times have you worked late?

How many times have you worked over the weekend?

How many times have your rushed Storytime?

We have all done it, but its how we move forward that counts, I have worked many late night, I have worked over weekends (granted not many) we all do, but you need to ask yourself why this is happening? Why am I having to work late, what has happened that day or that week that has made me work late, work over the weekend, miss storytime……………… And there will lay the answer.

More often than not it is a task that has sucked up your time, may it be a huge task, or a task that you are unsure on and need to research, or a task that happens every week/month but you haven’t prepared for, again it’s NOT failure, its realisation, now is the time for you to pinpoint and rectify and claw back that time and NOT feel guilty.

Let’s face it guilt is horrendous, guilty for working, guilty for not working, I mean make your mind up, but lets see if we can provide some tips and tools to help you move forward.

Now ultimately, I would say to you outsource, but that is not always the right solution, or it may not be the right time for you, so what other things can we do to help you.

Identify the task – We all have those tasks that suck up out time, more than many others, but it is identifying this task and figuring out why that particular task is taking up so much time.

Why is it taking so long – Now you have identified the task, now it’s trying to figure out why this task takes so long.  Is it because the task is large and takes up too much time? Do you feel you lack knowledge in completing this task or is it just because you just DON’T want to do it?

If it’s a large task – if the task has a long deadline, break it down, you’ll find breaking it down over a course of a few weeks, will make it more palatable and easier to digest than sitting there for hours trying to complete a task you hate!

Start it as soon as you get it – make a start on it, putting it off will only make the task even worse, so if it lands on your desk on a Monday afternoon, make a start, do 15mins worth, that way you have started it, the worst part is done.

It feels muddled up – Try putting a process in place, I know a lot of people talk about processes but they are pretty important, and if you can look at how you are currently doing that task and then how you can amend it, by maybe adding a step or removing a step, or even bulking steps together to give you a streamlined process.

Not sure how to complete it  – if it is something new or you just don’t know how to complete and you need to do some training, then maybe you need to take some time out each week to train up.

If you can work through these and make small changes you will notice that you will have more control over your time.

Obviously, I would love to be able to support you in your business, help you free up more time, and be able to use that time guilt-free with your family.

My hourly rate starts at £25ph or you can have full peace of mind with a retainer package which you can find here

Get Your Biz Sorted for Summer

Get your biz sorted for summer

Here we are just a few short weeks away till the kids break up for their annual 6 weeks summer leave, those that have the employed life will panic over who will have the kids and how much will it cost.

Whilst most self-employed business owners fret over the other side of the coin, not only the same ‘who will have the kids’ and ‘how much will it cost’ but also ‘can I afford to take time off this year’ not just financially but logically with all your work.

That is why I am running my series ‘Get your biz sorted for summer’ over the next few weeks I want to share with you hints and tips on how to get yourself prepared for taking time off, and NOT feeling guilty for doing so, lets face it we have all manners of guilt going on.

Identifying your Time-Wasters

We  all have them, every job I have had, whether its in the days of employment or since running my own business, there are always  ‘those’ tasks that just zap time like Pacman eating those yellow dots!

So what are yours? I asked this very question over on my Facebook Page this week, what would be on the top of your list?

Identifying those time-wasters or time-consuming tasks is key to moving forward, once we find what they are we can start making changes and helping you get some well earned time off over the holidays.

You don't have to touch every task in business

We have this notion that everything in our business, we have to do, and when we realise that it’s not the case, we still fight it, we still fight to ask for help, why? 

The problem is we have got so used to doing everything due to there being no-one else in your business to do it for you, so you have just plodded on, but as the business has grown, the workload has increased you are starting to feel the pressure. 

And this is when I get my torch and shine a very bright light on the fact you DON’T have to do everything in your business, and you DON’T have to touch every task either!

Sounds bonkers right! but it’s true, let’s take social media, yes you write your content, but that’s it! you could have someone else source the imagery, edit the content, make sure grammar and spelling is correct, schedule it onto whichever platform! 

Mind blown yet?

Stick with me over the next few weeks, I am not promising a full 2 weeks off fully paid holiday, but I am hoping to help you offset, add in processes and shift things around to help you carve out some precious time with the family, whether its a block of time or days here and there.

I want to be able to help you have some guilt-free time off from the business and come back feeling happy and refreshed ready for the last run of the year. 

My last for 2017

My last for 2017

Well, we have made it to the last working week of 2017! And what a hectic one it was, I had visions of taking it easy this week, kicking back, doing a spot of office house cleaning, tidying up my downloads folder, clearing my inbox, scheduling in posts for the festive period, tieing up loose ends…………How many did it get done! Well as I sit and write this now, precisely none haha

 

I find myself in a bit of a reflecting mood as I pen my last blog of the year, I must say this year has probably been my best year since starting Remote Admin Services back in January 2014, a lot has changed in those few years.  I am rounding this year off totally different to how 2016 was finishing, this year I am finishing with a stack of work, and more happy clients than ever before.

 

What happened?

I think it is important to be flexible with your business, and not keep yourself stuck, we as people evolve and change this is the same with our businesses, we need to embrace how our business changes and go with the flow, so for me when I first started out I was Remote Admin Services, this year saw a change to my brand, it was given a massive overhaul by the ever so talented and gorgeous Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, we gave my brand the personal touch and tweaked my name to Remote Admin Services with Claire, this gave it a more personal touch. Vicki is the lady you should speak to if you are looking on refreshing your brand, she even has amazing programmes that guide you to building a better brand, check it out HERE

I had the social media genius that is Beckie Coupe of Infinity with Beckie Coupe run through my social media, giving me every hint, tip, trick and advice she could. Beckie is the go-to lady when it comes to anything social media, she really knows a lot and has the ability to stop you from running around in a frenzy every time Facebook changes something.  Beckie also has the best monthly email services, its called The Social Media Accelerator, this is an email sent to you once a month with so many content ideas to see you through the month.

Then I had the super productive Sarah Cornforth of The Productivity Princess run through some of my processes to see where I could tweak my personal business time, I found that I was super productive with my client work, but my business was suffering, but Sarah helped me put that right. Sarah also has a fab monthly club that helps you move from stuck to productive, Her Zen Productivity club is fab and worth checking out.

Then there is what I can only describe as the female version of the Tasmanian devil, the little whirlwind of ‘getting sh!t done’ the one that knows what to say at the right time, the one that just knows what you are thinking and gives you the self-belief that you really can do this and that you really are awesome, or if that doesn’t work a swift kick up the backside! she really is the cream of the crop Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, she really has been the catalyst to my year being the success that it has been, I have several times contacted Emma having a wobble and she has put me right. I would love to set you a challenge to find someone as open, passionate, genuine, to the point, empathetic and knowledgeable as Emma. She is by far my biggest reason for doing so well this year.

I have also found massive support this year in my VA groups, I have found a great foundation of support and gives me ideas for further changes and tweaks to my business.  This is what I mean about being open and willing to give your business a helping had to evolve and change.

 

Upcoming in 2018

I don’t like to plan much before the year is out, and to be honest, I don’t plan much in January full stop, I find it a busy month and one that a lot of people struggle with, so adding goals and must do’s to an already depressing month doesn’t sit well with me.

So, it is a case of sit and watch this space, I know that I will be kicking as much backside as I have done this year if not more, I will continue to grow my confidence, my services and my client base, and more importantly enjoy what I do.

 

Log off and kick back

As I mentioned in my last blog Take having a break seriously you need this break, you need to step away from your business even if it is just for a few days, you need to unplug and recharge your batteries, we have all been working like lunatics this year, burnout isn’t an option, so make sure you take time off.  As much as we all love what we do, it can soon become a chore!

 

At the start of this blog, I had said I hadn’t done half the things I was planning to do this week, even schedule in posts for the festive season, and you know what! I may just go a little rogue not schedule and just play it by ear, I would normally have things planned in for this time of year, but I think this year, I will see what mood I am in on a particular day and post something relevant! Let’s see how that one works out, if it doesn’t work I will be crying to Beckie 🙂

 

So, for now, I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me this year, it has been a full on year, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you health, wealth and happiness.

 

All my love xx

 

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Getting your biz holiday ready!

Blog Getting your biz holiday ready

This is a HOT topic, folks! 

Whether you have children or not, July and August are what we call the holiday season here in the UK, it’s the time when most of us take a break from work and enjoy time holidaying, may that be a staycation or flying off somewhere. Those that are still employed have the luxury of booking the time off and doing a quick handover to a colleague.

But those of us that run your own business knows there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes:

  • Planning when to take the time off
  • Budgeting for that time off, as we know being self-employed we need to into account for the loss of earnings as well as the cost of the holiday
  • Informing client’s, you are taking time off and making sure their work is covered
  • Making sure your social media is covered for when you are away
  • Out of office set up

And that is before you pack to go on your holiday!

The entire process can be quite daunting. If you have children then you’ll know that the school summer holidays are looming too, but let’s face it you still have to work, I know I certainly can’t take off 6 weeks, so I work around my little cherubs, but also be mindful of quality family time and making memories with them, as that is one of the soul reasons I started my business, was to be with my young family whilst they are growing up.

The trivial things that help! 

With this process, you can adapt it to suit the school holidays or your 2-week holiday.  It really is a case of getting into a habit that will make your life a little easier each day, they are not massive changes to your daily schedule, but even still workable and manageable.

  • You don’t have to tell your crowd you are away, but make sure you give your clients plenty of notice that you going to be away from and when
  • Schedule in your social media, the insightful Beckie Coupe of Infinity Digital has this great blog post to get your social media holiday ready. There are some helpful tips on there to get that part of your business covered.
  • If you are going away are you planning on checking in? if not then you need to be making sure you set your Out of Office responder on your email system.
  • Outsource! If you do not want to leave your business unattended whilst you are away, then start now looking for a Virtual Assistant who can cover whilst you are on holiday, you can give them a variety of tasks, or you can hand everything over, it depends on what you require, you may just want them to respond to your crowd on social media, or you may find your emails are the thing that you need covering.  But start looking now for a VA.
  • If you are not going away but have children and their school holiday to contend with then check out my top tips in this BLOG  on how to survive the school holidays 😊

Start Now!

You may not be going away until August, but if you start planning now and getting those things in place now, then it will be one less stress when you come to logging off.If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  And check out my latest freebie HERE

Hope to chat with you soon

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